CASTINE, Maine – The fifth-seeded University of Maine at Farmington women's basketball team provided the only upset of either the women's or men's North Atlantic Conference Tournament quarterfinals, holding off a rally by host Maine Maritime Academy and edging the fourth-seeded Mariners, 56-52, Tuesday night at Margaret Chase Smith Gymnasium.
UMaine-Farmington improves to 12-13 overall with the win, and advances to Friday's NAC Tournament semifinals against no. 1 seed Castleton State College. Maine Maritime falls to 14-12 with the loss.
Sophomore Lindsay Ranquist (Owls Head, Maine/Medomak Valley) paced UMaine-Farmington with 11 points, the bulk of that coming off her 7-of-8 effort at the free throw line. Senior Rachel Clement (Gray, Maine/Gray-New Gloucester) logged 10 points, also largely thanks to a 5-of-6 mark at the charity stripe.
Senior Kenni Norton (Strong, Maine/Mt. Abram) led the Beavers with three field goals on 15 attempts. Holly Oliver (Belgrade Lakes, Maine/Messalonskee) and Meghan Smith (Boothbay, Maine/Boothbay Regional) each charted seven rebounds.
Kari Jones paced Maine Maritime with a game-high 14 points while Leah Jackson scored 11 and grabbed a game-best 15 rebounds. Mary Badeen added nine points with seven boards and Casey Everest grabbed eight rebounds.
Trailing by 11, 52-41, with 4:57 remaining, the Mariners went on an 11-1 scoring run to close the gap to 53-52 with 49 seconds left in the game. Ranquist sank a pair of free throws with 13 seconds left to give the Beavers a little more breathing room, and after two missed threes by the Mariners, Clement iced the game with a free throw with four seconds left in the game.
Maine Maritime was 0-of-5 from the field over the last two minutes of play.
The second half featured eight lead changes, and six ties, before the Beavers went on a 12-point run in the latter part of the second half to blow a see-saw game wide open. Clement knotted the game at 39-39 on a pair of foul shots, and Oliver exploited a Mariner turnover with 3-pointer to stretch the lead.
A Norton jumper led to a Clement trey and a pair of free throws, resulting in a 49-39 lead for UMaine-Farmington with 6:09 showing on the clock.